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The Future of Work and the 21st Century Workplace

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Global Responsibility

The Journal of Global Responsibility: The international journal focusing on issues of globally responsible and sustainable leadership is pleased to invite papers for a special issue on “The Future of Work and the 21st Century Workplace.”

Special Issue Scope:
The emergence of a post-industrial, globalised economy, driven by advances in information and telecommunication technologies (IT) and characterised by a shift from manufacturing to services and increasing reliance on intellectual resources is well attested to in the literature (Bell 1971, OECD 1996, Mokyr 2002).  Firms have used IT to leverage their key knowledge workers, a process described by Zuboff (1988) as ‘informating’, while those performing routine tasks have increasingly found their jobs outsourced or replaced through automation.  Recent advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, and related technologies are predicted to accelerate these trends (Brynjolfsson & McAfee 2014) creating new industries, new jobs, and increasing remuneration for the higher skilled (Bresnahan, Brynjolfsson, & Hitt 2002, Levy & Murnane 2004), while destroying old industries and promising casualization or unemployment for the lower skilled (Standing 2011). In the medium term, the future of work appears uncertain even for the higher skilled, as medical, legal, accounting, and other ‘professional’ knowledge starts to be supplied more efficiently using smart machines rather than smart people (Susskind and Susskind, 2015).

Current trends indicate a continuing shift in economic investment away from low skilled to high skilled human capital and progressively towards various forms of non-human intellectual resources. According to some forecasts up to 40% of current jobs are predicted to be eliminated in the next 10-15 years (CEDA 2015).  These trends raise profound questions of responsibility and leadership for both market and non-market actors.  What does ethical business practice, respect for stakeholders, and sustainability mean in the rapidly changing 21st century industrial and organizational landscape? More broadly, what new challenges are implied for responsible leaders at all levels within the firm, within government, the unions and academia?

For this Special Issue, the Journal of Global Responsibility welcomes contributions of all types, from conceptual papers to empirical papers, and including a breadth of philosophical perspectives.  Topics could include but are not restricted to:  
•    Impacts of disruptive technologies on the 21st Century workplace and workforce
•    The effects of changing work arrangements on firm -worker relationships
•    The case for a new social contract
•    The future of women at work
•    Economic and social consequences of automating the jobs of the lower skilled and ‘informating’ those in higher skilled jobs
•    How to balance employment voice, equity and efficiency in the workplace
•    Declining unionism and the emergence of new forms of worker advocacy
•    Employability and career development – future roles and relationships of universities and businesses
•    Building socially responsible global supply chains
•    Combining globally standardized work practices with local adaptation – workplace challenges for multinationals
•    The development of international labour standards – roles of MNEs and other actors

Key dates

  • Submission deadline: 30 November 2018
  • Decisions on first round to authors: 31 December 2018
  • Revisions due: 28 February 2018
  • Conditional/final decisions on accepted papers: March/April 2019

How to submit
The completed papers should be submitted online no later than 30 November 2018 at . The submission window will open 32 days before the call for papers deadline. All submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere and must follow the Journal of Global Responsibility author guidelines listed on the JGR website available here:

Contact Details
Guest Editor

Dr Alan Burton-Jones
Griffith University
[email protected]

Bell, D. (1974), The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting, London: Heinemann
Bresnahan, T., Brynjolfsson, E. & Hitt, L. (2002), ‘Information Technology, Workplace Organization and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm Level Evidence’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol.117, pp. 339-376.
Brynjolfsson, E. & McAfee, A. (2014), The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, London, W.W. Norton and Company.
CEDA (2015),  Australia’s future workforce? Melbourne, The Committee for Economic Development of Australia
Levy, M., & Murnane, R J. (2004). How computers are creating the next job market, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Mokyr, J., (2002), The Gifts of Athena: The Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
OECD, (1996), The Knowledge-Based Economy, Paris: OECD
Standing, G. (2011), The Precariat, London: Bloomsbury Academic
Susskind, R and Susskind, D. (2015), The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform The Work of Human Experts, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Zuboff, S. (1988). In the Age of the Smart Machine - The Future of Work and Power, New York, Basic Books